Kidnapper, Rapist Ariel Castro Sentenced To Life Without Parole
Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo sentenced the man convicted of imprisoning three women in his Cleveland home for a decade to life in prison without parole. Ariel Castro, 53, pleaded guilty to 937 counts including aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and assault. The women described horrific conditions in the home, which Castro turned into a jerry-rigged prison. One of his victims, Michelle Knight, spoke before his sentencing. "He told me that my family didn't care [about me]." Knight said. "Christmas was the most traumatic day," she said because she couldn't celebrate it with her son, who was a toddler when she went missing. "The death penalty would be so much easier," Knight told Castro in court. "You don't deserve that. You deserve to spend life in prison. I can forgive you. But I will never forget." Castro told the court he is not a monster. Instead, he said he is sick and addicted to pornography. He said he didn't plan the first kidnapping. Castro also apologized to his victims, but he claimed most of the sex was consensual. Castro received the life term for the most serious count, and he got additional time for the hundreds of other counts. A plea deal struck last week spared him from a possible death sentence for beating and starving a pregnant victim until she miscarried. The women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. They escaped May 6 when one of them, Amanda Berry, broke out part of the door to Castro's house and yelled to neighbors for help. Castro was arrested within hours.